Science, Technology and STEM are more than a collection of subjects; they are an opportunity to explore, a window to foster our curiosity to understand, and a method to innovate and improve the world around us. And despite the number of young Australians choosing STEM subjects in high school reportedly being in decline, CGGS is proud of the number of girls studying a subject or engaging in a co-curricular activity within the field of STEM.
This year we have seen a number of our senior students be selected to partake in highly competitive programs, including Questacon Student Training Program, the International Science School Camp at the University of Sydney and The National Youth Science Forum at UQ. All of these programs required students to write a formal application and demonstrate their passion and interest for Science and Technology.
The International Science School Camp is one program where the competition is fierce and this year Tijana Stevanovic (Year 11 Glebe) was the only Canberra student selected to attend a wonderful 2-week residential science camp at the University of Sydney. Tijana reflects very fondly of her time away in July, “the best part was working with Dr Karl and seeing some of the brand new nanotechnology research facilities at Sydney University… it was so very cool!”
We have also just received notification that four Year 11 students have been selected to attend the National Youth Science Forum; Rhea Chopra, Eloise Hatcher, Becky Anderson and Stephanie Jones. Again the application process for this program was rigorous and we will have one of the highest numbers of students from the one school. The students are looking forward to living on the UQ campus for 12 days and immersing themselves in the intensive hands-on program exploring all things Science and STEM.
However, these programs are not just about Science and STEM concepts and experiments. According to Kylie in Year 12 IB, “The student training program at Questacon taught us how to read people, approach and talk to people and how to incite innovation and creativity in others of all ages”. All of these programs encourage students to go beyond physical boundaries to communicate and collaborate more effectively and efficiently with people of all ages from around the world. Sarah Richardson, Kylie Saju, Rowena Stening, Yi An Lai, Julia Myler, Rosanna Curtotti, Catriona Oldfield and Olivia Qi will all graduate from the STP on the 14 September.
Fostering a love for STEM and encouraging the development of 21st century skills was also the main idea behind the X2STEM day during the National Science Week in August. In celebration of National Science Week, students in Years 8 and 9 took part in a day of workshops and activities recognising the achievements of women in the field of STEM. The event was aimed at inspiring young female scientists to be effective collaborators, innovative thinkers and ethical problem solvers. The students were able to work with Questacon, Tesla Owners Club of Australia, Mt Stromlo Outreach, Woodlands and Wetlands Trust and ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talent and ingenuity within our School, and this year we reached out to others in our community to bring our students a day full of STEM-based opportunities. Students heard inspiring stories from a panel of experts, including Kylie Walker (CEO of Science and Technology Australia, also a Grammarian (1991)), Erica Hediger (Creative Element), Alisha Duncan (ANU Transplantation Photosynthesis), Michelle Melbourne (Intelledox) and Ingrid McCarthy (Inspiring Australia ACT). The students were encouraged to, “Follow your curiosity and listen to your inner passion but you must also know how to use data and think analytically to succeed in future jobs.” A wonderful day was had by all.
Head of Science and Technology Faculty
 "Engaging the Future of STEM - Chief Executive Women." https://cew.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Engaging-the-future-of-STEM.pdf. Accessed 28 Apr. 2017.